Appeal by Northampton courts for volunteers to help victims and witnesses of crime

Crown Court GV
Crown Court GV

Volunteers to help support victims or witnesses to crime when they give evidence in Northampton’s courts are being sought.

The Citizen’s Advice Witness Service is appealing for more people to help at Northampton Magistrates’ Court and the Crown Court.

A spokesman for the service said: “Being a victim of, or witnessing a crime can be a highly stressful and emotional time even for the strongest of us. For those who receive the letter on the doormat, asking them to come to court on a particular date to give evidence in a criminal trial, it can be a worrying experience.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone there when you arrived to help you understand the process, make sure you knew where you were going, explained things in ‘normal’ language and introduced you to the people you were going to be dealing with.

“It might be nice to even visit the court in advance so it wouldn’t be so unknown to you on trial day, when you are nervous enough!

Citizens Advice Witness Service is one such group of people.

“In the majority of criminal courts across England, the national charity Citizens Advice have members of staff running a team of well trained, professional people who can help you in this way.

“The day to day service is undertaken by volunteers who take great pride in their roles, and are committed and loyal to the work they do. They provide the service to both defence and prosecution witnesses and have good working relationships with solicitors, the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service), HMCTS (Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service) staff and the Police whilst maintaining an independent and non judgemental presence within the formal environment of a courthouse.

“If you are going to be a witness in a trial and would like to know more about the service we provide, or if you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the Citizens Advice Witness Service, give us a call,” he added.

The Witness Service in Northamptonshire are currently looking for new members to join their team, particularly in Northampton magistrates’ and Crown courts. If you would like more information, please call Linda on 0300 332 1290 or Mel on 0300 332 1291. Alternatively, email at ​northampton.mc@citizensadvice.org.uk​.